Best Bars in Tahoe

10 Best Bars and Watering Holes in the Lake Tahoe Area

If your idea of nightlife includes hitting a bar for drinks and socializing, then these 10Best Tahoe bars should be on your list. No matter what side of the lake you are staying on, there is a bar that will satisfy in quenching your thirst and maybe even a growling stomach. 

If you want a dive bar, check out Whiskey Dick's or Himmel Haus on the South Shore. The Himmel Haus is a German and Bavarian inspired bar that serves authentic German food as well as a huge selection of beer. If you want some local beers, check out the Tahoe Mountain Brewing Company in Tahoe City where you can also get lunch or dinner. The Lucky Beaver in Stateline is the ultimate sports bar on the lake and during every big game, it should be packed.

For something a little more upscale, check out the Brooks' Bar & Deck at the Edgewood Tahoe golf course. Another restaurant with a great bar and friendly bartenders is the Cottonwood in Truckee. The Eagle's Nest, located in the mountains above Tahoe serves excellent cocktails and dishes like Seared Ahi Tuna.

If you want to mix it up with the locals. The Genoa Bar in the small town of Genoa, NV has been in operation since 1853 and still has the original some colorful characters.


The Genoa Bar is a bit of a drive down Kingsbury Grade to the small town of Genoa, but it's worth it to visit the "Oldest Continually Operating Thirst Parlor" in the state of Nevada. This bar has been continuously on the bar route in this area since 1863 and used to be called a "gentleman's saloon". These days it's a fun local's bar that has a lot of the original antiques, lighting and even some very old spiderwebs. The old Jukebox plays even older music and there is some retro slot machines, animal heads on the walls, a wood burning stove, a pool table and a friendly bartender. Raquel Welch's bra hangs from the ceiling and people like Clark Gable and Johnny Cash sat here. Basic beers and hard liquor are served here and you can enjoy them inside the bar or while sitting on the rickety, old front porch.

Recommended for Bars because: The Genoa Bar is the oldest working bar in the state of Nevada.

Christina's expert tip: Horses are not allowed at the bar.

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This small cafe in Tahoe City is a mix of everything: sports bar meets lunch place meets gathering area meets live music venue. It is a beautiful, little place with comfy places to sit and plenty of parking. The decor is a mix of dark wood, nice stained glass and local artwork as well as big screen TVs. The friendly, quick staff serves up tasty sandwiches, soups and salads and has a generous happy hour. The Fat Cat Cafe in Tahoe City is a cool and laid back restaurant, bar, artists space and performance area for local and regional bands. Come here during the day for great sandwiches and salads and stay into the night for appetizers, a fun bar and live entertainment. The Fat Cat has special events for the holidays and usually has a band playing on the weekends. Past performances have been by Horsemouth, Drop Theory and the On the Spot Trio. They have open mic night every Tuesday and karaoke every Thursday. Their bar features wine, beers on draught and a full selection of cocktails.

Recommended for Bars because: Come to Fat Cat for the food; stay for the music.

Christina's expert tip: The Fat Cat has free wifi.

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Brooks' Bar & Deck at the Edgewood Tahoe golf resort near South Lake Tahoe is located right in front of the water and some of the best golfing in the area. The bar features an expansive deck, sweeping vaulted ceilings, walls of glass windows, and multiple flatscreen TVs tuned to the biggest games of the day. The bar features a number of quality local and regional beers on tap and a variety of signature cocktails including daily specials. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served as casual dining fare. Deluxe appetizers and entrees, and sophisticated comfort food can be ordered with all drinks.

Recommended for Bars because: Brooks' Bar & Deck has some of the best views in Tahoe and one killer mojito.

Christina's expert tip: Golf Digest featured Brooks' Bar in the October 2008 issue.

Read more about Brooks' Bar & Deck →


The Tahoe Mountain Brewing Company is located right in the heart of Tahoe City, near the Cobbleworks Mall and across the street from Commons Beach. This new brew pub has been created to features the craft beers from the brewery in Truckee, California. The pub offers several ales and lagers, a full bar and a nice selection of small dishes, BBQ meats, flat bread pizzas, pasta, tacos and traditional as well as gourmet pub fare. They also have vegan and vegetarian options as well as a kids' menu. The restaurant has a great, outdoor deck where you can eat right on the street or in the shade of the building. The service is open and friendly and they play laid back reggae and other music. If you want to eat inside, the interior is decorated in a rustic, but open style. The pub is also decorated with classic Tahoe decor that includes skis, fishing gear, local timber and various oak barrels filled with aging beer. The menu includes small plate items like their Pulled Pork Sliders (with cheese!) for $8 and Mountain Nachos with pork or chicken, jack cheese, olives, beans, sour cream, guacamole and Pico de Gallo for $12. Their salads include the House Salad for $5 and the Grilled Polenta on Greens with grilled veggies for $10. Their flat bread pizzas are hand-made fresh daily and include the Brewers Flatbread with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and black olives with marinara sauce and three different cheeses for $13. Their entrees include burgers and sandwiches, fish tacos and even a Pretzel Encrusted Pork Schnitzel with seared pork loin with roasted shallot mustard, garlic mashed potato & market vegetables for $21. Their beers are locally made and they offer seasonal and rotating beers. Try the Belgian pale ale, Saison D'Croquette, or the Whit Rabbit with New Zealand Pacific Jade Hops. The Paddleboard Pale Ale and the Sugar Pine Porter are Tahoe classics.

Recommended for Bars because: The Tahoe Mountain Brewing Company is right across from Commons Beach in Tahoe City.

Christina's expert tip: Their beers are unique to the Tahoe area.

Read more about Tahoe Mountain Brewing Company →

Moody's has become one of the best places for lunch, dinner and drinks in downtown Truckee. Their menu has been Zagat rated and they also offer a great selection of live music in their classic lounge.They are known for their season, organic and regional dishes and wines. They offer comfort dishes like Crab Toast with Dungeness Crab on sliced Ciabatta, their famous Tomato Soup en Croute (delicious!) and thin crust Neopolitan pizza. Moody's also offers sandwiches, salads and burgers. Their main dishes from the grill and rotisserie include Pan Roasted, Free Range, All Natural Chicken Breast with Purple Potatoes, Wild Arugula and Fava Beans. Moody's also has a great wine list that includes wines from around the world like Caposaldo from Italy, Elyse from Napa Valley, Paul Jaboulet from the Cote du Rhone and Pierre Spar from Alsace. You can also get wines on tap like Caldera from the California Central Coast. Their beer list is just as extensive with selections from New Belgium, Black Butte and Pyramid.

Recommended for Bars because: Moody's live music on the weekends features local blues and jazz musicians.

Christina's expert tip: Moody's Happy Hour is from 4-6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and selected items have a discounted price. The Happy Hour also includes $2 off all wine by the glass, beer and well cocktails.

Read more about Moody's Bistro & Bar →

South Lake Tahoe

Whiskey Dick's the one of the original South Tahoe dive bars frequented by both tourists and locals. The saloon features live music on most weekends by alternative, rock, bluegrass and classic tunes. When the stage is not occupied, a jukebox is always loaded with classic and new music. The bar is low-key and a popular place for pool, shuffleboard, darts and some classic video games. The bar also has a patio for summer nights. The bar serves over a hundred beers and cocktails including the toxic Alice in Wonderland for $6.50 and the Red Bull and Vodka for only $5. Each of their cocktails are generously served in 12 or 16 ounce cups, so be sure to pace yourself. You can also grab some simple pub food like burgers, chicken wings, dips and nachos.

Recommended for Bars because: Whiskey Dick's is one of the best places for live music in South Tahoe.

Christina's expert tip: The jukebox is full of music from all genres.

Read more about Whiskey Dick's Saloon →

7800 Bar & Grill is the only family owned restaurant and bar in the Kirkwood area and it shows. The place is packed on winter ski weekends and at night�especially during one of their many special events which includes free live bands, wine and beer dinners, karaoke night and Pray for Snow bonfires. The menu might be another reason so many people flock to this out of the way bar and grill. The lunch and dinner menu feature comfort food like gourmet Mac 'n Cheese, Grandma's Pot Pie, Fish Tacos, Chili, Clam Chowder and a great kid's menu. Their dinner items include several fish dishes and an amazing Cacao and Espresso Rubbed Filet Mignon. The bar features various beers on tap, local and regional wines and various cocktails.

Recommended for Bars because: While it's a bit of a drive from the lake, 7800 has a great atmosphere.

Christina's expert tip: 7800's Happy Hour is Monday through Thursday from from 3:00PM to 5:30PM and offers a $4 cocktail special.

Read more about 7800 Bar & Grill →

South Lake Tahoe

Himmel Haus is a German restaurant and bierhaus featuring a wide variety of German and Belgian biers and wines with a simple menu of Bavarian-inspired food with a local California twist. The menu includes locally made and sustainably harvested ingredients. The bier menu includes Pilsner, Helles, Hefe Weizen, Dunkel Marzen, Bock and Doppelbock as well as Belgian biers like Lambic, Blond, Wit, Ale and Trappist biers like Chimay and Rochefort Ale. Himmel Haus has special events all week including movies nights, live music, open mic night and trivia night. Their summer BierFest is popular as well as their Oktoberfest celebration.

Recommended for Bars because: Try Himmel Haus's game sausages: elk, antelope, alligator or kangaroo.

Christina's expert tip: The Warm Braided Br�tchen will take you back to northern Germany.

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The Cottonwood Restaurant and Bar in Truckee is located on a small hillside overlooking downtown Truckee, the Truckee River and the railroad that runs through town. This might be one of the reasons why this is such a popular night spot in both summer and winter. The other reasons might be because of the warm and intimate ambience with great lighting, log cabin styling and the great food and bar. Both locals and visitors will hang out here on snowy nights while waiting for the roads to clear, so there are plenty of people to talk to. The restaurant serves various entrees featuring sustainable seafood along with the best organic produce and grass-fed meat from the foothills and the nearby Sierra Valley. They include favorites like the Niman Ranch New York Steak, Pine Nut Crusted Southeast Asian Basa, and Butternut Squash Enchiladas (vegetarian), Dave also lets his creative juices flow with up to five different nightly specials. The bar serves a small selection of beers and wines and some great cocktails including the Frenchy Margarita. Happy Hour is daily from 4:30-6:30 daily and all day on Winter/Storm Watch days. The bar can get loud and crowded farther into the evening. The Cottonwood features live acoustic music on Thursday and Friday evenings. Music starts at 7 p.m. in the fireplace room during winter months and moves to the deck with a 6 p.m. start time during warmer months (weather permitted).��"Acoustic Thursdays" feature the best in FREE live acoustic musical entertainment coupled with discounts on libations and select menu items all night long in the Bar and Fireplace Rooms.

Recommended for Bars because: This bar is a favorite local hangout with friendly bartenders and patrons.

Christina's expert tip: Reservations for the live music nights are recommended.

Read more about Cottonwood Restaurant and Bar →

Gar Woods Grill and Pier Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Gar Woods

Gar Woods on Tahoe's West Shore is best known for it's wonderful pier and wooden boats, but it also has a great menu and a fun bar. The floor to ceiling windows, large deck and balconies provide breath taking views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Mountains. The menu highlights mainly California cuisine, hand cut steaks, fresh pacific seafood, pizzas, pastas and salads. The wine list is a collection of California's best and best known vintners featuring more than one dozen wines by the glass. The menu includes items such as Pomegranate Glazed Pork Ribs, Shrimp & Lobster Bisque, Filet and Scampi, Australian Lamb Chops, Seafood Tagliarini and desserts like White Chocolate Snickers Cheesecake and Butterscotch Creme Brulee. Gar Woods serves signature cocktails such as their famous Wet Woody with with Rum, Peach Schnapps, Cranberry Juice, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice and Sweet and Sour mix.

Recommended for Bars because: Notorious for its Wet Woody, Gar Woods also has one of the best views at the lake.

Christina's expert tip: In the summer, the deck at Gar Woods is a great place to hang out.

Read more about Gar Woods Grill and Pier Restaurant →


Meet Christina Nellemann

Christina has lived in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area since she was a baby. A first-generation Nevadan, her Danish parents instilled in her an intense love of travel and the wild, rugged outdoors...  More About Christina